NEW YORK, NY (April 5, 2011) – Vice today announced it has formed major investment partnerships with some of the most influential leaders in the media business: Tom Freston, MTV Founder and former Viacom CEO; WPP, the world’s leading communications services group; and The Raine Group, a top media merchant bank. Vice Founder Shane Smith described the new partnership as an “unholy alliance that will ensure no other media company will ever stand a chance against Vice’s relentless onslaught.”
Vice also announced a strategic partnership with powerhouse talent agency William Morris Endeavor.
Freston, WPP, and The Raine Group will acquire seats on Vice’s board of directors. The company and its board will remain independently owned and controlled.
The set of partnerships strategically positions Vice to continue its transformation into one of the world’s leading youth media companies. Vice will leverage the new resources and relationships to aggressively expand globally, focusing on emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India and South Korea. Vice is in the process of building a network of international studios and creative facilities to produce and distribute content from directors, writers, artists and musicians.
Vice will also expand its news and sports divisions, increasing its coverage of international stories for a young audience. Additionally, Vice will continue establishing new digital channels and verticals with large brands.
Shane Smith said, “Vice has long been accused of having ambitions for total global domination. Today, we acknowledge the truth: we want the whole ball of wax. Sir Martin Sorrell and WPP, Ari Emanuel and WME, along with Tom Freston and Joe Ravitch are so good at what they do that they scare me. Having this group aboard is like having a rocket strapped to your skateboard, when they turn on the jets you’re in for a hell of a ride.”
Freston will also take an advisory role, focusing on global expansion and content production. WPP, led by CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, manages a client roster that includes more than 70 percent of Fortune Global 500 companies. WPP will work with Vice to facilitate relationships with the world’s leading brands.
WME and its CEO, Ariel Emanuel, will represent Vice and its content across all media, including TV, film, live events, and music.
The Raine Group and its founders, Joe Ravitch and Jeff Sine, will offer expert advice and unparalleled relationships throughout the industry.
Tom Freston said, “I love Vice. The company is bursting with creativity and they have built an impressive array of smart, innovative, and successful businesses all laser-focused on their audience. More importantly, they’re just getting warmed up, so this is extremely exciting for me.”
Sir Martin Sorrell said, “WPP is investing in Vice to further develop our content capabilities, particularly in new media and amongst the youth consumer segments. Vice has been extremely successful in developing and repositioning major brands in these areas. It’s also an opportunity to work closely with Tom Freston and Ari Emanuel and his WME talent agency.”
Ari Emanuel said, “The strength of Vice’s content is really the driving force behind this partnership. We see limitless opportunities to broaden and diversify the Vice brand by bringing their unmined content to new platforms and a wider audience.”
Joe Ravitch said, “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the team at
Vice – a truly innovative global multi-platform media company. We look forward to helping them scale their portfolio as they build the leading next-generation media enterprise.”
Vice is a leading global youth media brand operating in over 30 countries. The company owns a magazine and book publishing division, a music division, VBS.TV, Viceland.com, Virtue Worldwide (a full service agency), AdVice (an online activation network), and a series of digital channels built around online content verticals. This spring the company will be launching Vice.com.
Vice has grown exponentially over the last two years by launching new digital channels through partnerships with some of the largest consumer brands in the world including Intel Corporation and Dell, Inc. Vice’s digital channels include The Creators Project, dedicated to arts and creativity; Motherboard, covering cultural happenings in technology; and, most recently, Noisey, a new music channel. Vice plans to launch even more new channels later this year, targeting news, sports, and independent film and photography.